An explanation for crime
(such as homicide) that focuses on social structure (usually this refers to inequality,
poverty, or power differentials).
For example the
patriarchal structure of the family might help explain the abuse of women and children
within the family.
Lenton argues that the racial structure of the USA and the depth of its poverty (and the
weakness of its welfare state) compared to Canada, might help explain the difference in
Racial Differences on Organizational Attachment? -
Structural Explanation of Attitude Differences Between White and African American
Employees - Mahmoud Kashefi, Eastern Illinois University
This study examines and explains differences between White and Black employees in
organizational attachment. Previous studies on racial inequality assumed that the relative
failure of Black employees in the labor market is partially related to their work habits
and lower organizational attachment. This study, following the structural theory of the
labor market, suggests that any racial difference in organizational attachment is
explained by the structural features of jobs held by racial groups rather than by race or
other variables identified in the culture of poverty or human capital theories. Using 1991
General Social Survey data, the findings are strongly consistent with the structural
explanation of organizational attachment; the difference of average organizational
attachment between Black and White employees is minor but significant. However, race
displays a nonsignificant coefficient with organizational attachment when the structural
features of jobs were kept constant.
Behavioural and structural factors in the explanation of
socio-economic inequalities in health: an empirical analysis.
Karien Stronks, H. Dike Van De Mheen, Casper W. N. Looman and Johan P. Mackenbach
The aim of this study was to investigate the importance of 'cultural/behavioural' and
'materialist/structuralist' explanations for socio-economic inequalities in health, and to
examine the interrelationship between them. We used data from a survey among a sample of
the population in the southeastern part of the Netherlands. When analysed separately, both
behavioural and structural factors contributed substantially to observed inequalities in
health. In a simultaneous analysis, both groups of factors had a substantial part of their
contribution in common. We defined the overlap as an indirect contribution of structural
conditions, through behaviour. If that overlap is ignored, this could lead to an
overestimation of the behavioural explanation. In our analysis, the total (direct plus
indirect) contribution of structural factors is larger than that of behavioural factors.
However, because of, in particular, the cross-sectional character of the data, these
analyses must not be considered a final answer as to the question of the relative
contribution of behavioural and structural factors. Instead, they are an illustration of
the way their importance could be assessed, taking the effect of structural conditions on
lifestyle into consideration. - blackwell-synergy.com
Structural explanation in sociology: The egalitarian
David Rubinstein, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois at Chicago.
Abstract The concept of opportunity is widely used in sociology to explain unequal
attainments. In this approach the actor is seen as controlled by structures of
opportunity, rather than by culture or personality. This model is nearly identical
withhomo economicus. However, social order is conceived more sociologically. Opportunity
is portrayed as controlled by competing groups. But the problem of collective action makes
these concepts incompatible because rational maximizers are not ordinarily able to achieve
cooperation. This contradiction is resolved by modelingthe dominated as economically
rational whilethe dominant are seen as driven by extra-economic motives. The main motive
for adopting these contradictory models is a program of egalitarian social engineering.
A Theory of the Preferred Worker: A Structural
Explanation for Black Male Dominance in Basketball
Scott N. Brooks - University of California - Riverside, USA, email@example.com
Michael A. McKail - University of California - Riverside, USA
Black males' `dominance' in basketball is taken for granted and often explained in terms
of racial difference and socio-environmental factors. However, this is only one side of
the coin. Power needs to be considered for a fuller understanding. This article does this,
providing a structural perspective of black male integration into basketball that builds
from Edna Bonacich's work on labor and group relations. An occupational niche is two-way;
a group finds and occupies a niche that they have been given access to by a hiring group.
Black males do not dominate the collegiate and professional ranks of basketball simply
because of ability. They were given access to the opportunity because it benefited
capitalist interests and because of their marginalized position in society. In this
specific context, they represent the most profitable labor source.